Many pilgrims from all over the world come to Medjugorje during the summer months and many Croatians are among them too. All those pilgrims arrive here to be spiritually fed before returning to their homes and that is why from July 1 to August 31, there is one additional Holy Mass in Croatian language at 1 pm each day. Many pilgrims decide to spend a part of their holidays while here, not just during seminars or spiritual retreats, but also in the other days as well. Fr. Antonio – Mario Čirko, religious and Carmelite priest, parish priest in the parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Remete (parish in Zagreb), was one of them and he told us his story and reasons to be here.
„This is my second part of the holiday and I decided to come here to Our Lady in Medjugorje, as I have a long connection with Medjugorje. Medjugorje helped my family to understand the beauty of the faith and the sacramental life. When I was a child, I began to come here with my sister and my parents. I recall something that happened when I was 11. Fr. Slavko was the main celebrant and my mom prayed to Gospa, to Our Lady: Thank you, Gospa, since we are able to be here as a family. As a confirmation that you can hear our prayers, I am asking you to give us a little sign. It was a simple faith of one mother. But then, once the Holy Mass was finished, something interesting happened. Fr. Slavko, who was the main celebrant, instead of returning to the sacristy with all other priests, started to break through the crowds, came to me and gave me the rosary. I did not know Fr. Slavko and that was a sign of God’s love to us. I was connected to Medjugorje and to the Virgin Mary ever since I was little. Today, as a Carmelite priest, my dream ever since I was a little boy was achieved, I am able to be here as a Marian priest in Marian shrine and church! I am really grateful for that grace. Mary always provides safe road to us and we would never go astray if we follow her life, since she always bring us to Jesus. That is obvious here in Medjugorje with so many full confessionals, church that is packed and all the programme we have here, especially the Youth Festival that gathered thousands of young people. I am always happy to be in Medjugorje, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is especially moving for me. My cousin, now late Fr. Mile Cirko, who was a Franciscan, told me when I was young that I would become a priest. It was something that struck me deep in my heart. I think God spoke to me through him and placed the vocation seed within me back then. As the life went on, I graduated in high school and I completed medical college and only after all that I entered the convent. But, the vocation seed kept growing within me. There is a statue of St. Anthony in the Franciscan church in Zagreb and I remember I used to light a candle as a little boy before his feast there. After several years, my mom asked me why I was lightning a candle and I told her it was because I wanted to become a priest. Now, I came here to Medjugorje to renew my priesthood before Gospa, as this is where my vocation was born, along with late Fr. Mile.”